Questions remain about Manatee County school system's handling of Manatee High probe

July 4, 2014 

Former Manatee High principal Robert Gagnon addresses a crowd of media with his attorney, Richard Reinhart, left, wife, Melissa and children, Michael and Alyssa. Gagnon said that his contract was not renewed by Manatee County Schools though he was cleared of all allegations. TIFFANY TOMPKINS-CONDIE/Bradenton Herald


For the past 18 months, we have been saturated with news coverage about three Manatee High School administrators.

Spurred by behind-the-scenes political maneuvering and hidden personal agendas, and fueled by gossip, rumor and innuendo, this fire has consumed three families of community educators.

Many have joined in the fray by spreading unconfirmed gossip because it is a Kardashian-like sport nowadays to assassinate people's character and treat each other uncivilly. Whatever promotes headlines, blog outrage and sound bites can be justified.

There is evidence of inappropriate and outrageous behavior on the part of Mr. Rod Frazier. There is evidence that some who worked with him had concerns about his interactions with students and co-workers.

There is evidence that MHS administrators dealt internally with these concerns when they were brought to their attention.

There is no evidence that the three MHS administrators conspired to cover up Frazier's behavior or that they personally observed the same. Some questions should now be asked:

1. Why has the school district taken no action against employees who admitted under oath to lying to school investigators?

2. Were school employees (who were required by law to report their suspicions to the Child Abuse hotline) offered immunity from prosecution?

3. Why did the district choose to fire the MHS administrators, and not to apply administrative discipline against other employees?

4. Did someone compile a "Gagnon Family Tree" and circulate it within the district in an effort to punish friends and family?

5. Are school board members (who now must respond to administrative law judge findings in favor of Mr. Gagnon) unbiased?

Having sat through the recent administrator criminal trial, I wonder if we are content with getting on the majority band wagon of media-manipulated public opinion. Or can we admit there are some questions that now should be answered?

Janet Kerley


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